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Whistler’s Crystal Lodge wins province-wide hotel award

Fiona Scrivens won a leader of the future award from the BC Hotel Association thanks to her innovative meditation series
Fiona Scrivens’ sleep stories recently won her a provincial hotelier award.

A Whistler hotelier recently won a leader of the future award from the BC Hotel Association.

Fiona Scrivens, sales and marketing coordinator for the Crystal Lodge Hotel, won the award for her work creating meditative sleep stories for guests. The BC Hotel Association’s summit brings together hotels throughout the province, and this year the event was held May 1 and 2 at the Fairmont Chateau Whistler. The Crystal Lodge was also a runner-up for housekeeping excellence.

Scrivens' sleep stories were inspired by the Calm app, a popular tool for meditation. From her idea’s inception to the product’s roll-out, Scrivens said her love for the region led to the stories’ success.

“I love writing, and my passion for Whistler and the Sea to Sky definitely helps me in my role, because I’m selling what I love, so it makes it easy,” Scrivens said.

The two audio journeys feature Whistler in winter and summer, and are voiced by Crystal Lodge’s general manager, Daryl West. “Ski to sleep” features riding down Blackcomb and immerses listeners in the sensations of the cold, nature-filled landscape before arriving back at the hotel. “Whistler’s warmth” brings listeners through an alpine hike down to a calming lake paddle with friends.

Scrivens explained she used emerging technology to enhance her storytelling with ChatGPT.

“It was a really cool experience, because I was learning this new technology and learned how to prompt it properly,” she said.

With a background as a journalist, Scrivens said the experience taught her to reflect on her word choice even more than she already does, and the program created an outline that could be refined.

“It would spit out these responses with like, a lot of adjectives and it exaggerated the writing,” she said.

Scrivens then refined the script herself alongside the program, ultimately making the sleep stories works of audio art.

“It was my ideas and my outline, but then I used the new technology and [am] embracing what the future is going to be,” she said.

After scripting, West recorded the audio and Scrivens got to work editing the pieces.

“When I was in journalism school, I learned a lot about radio, and that definitely helped me,” she said. “And it was just so fun to have this project where I was using my imagination to the fullest extent.”

Scrivens said there is a culture within Crystal Lodge that encourages staff to embrace emerging technologies, which helps the hotel stay competitive within the industry.

She thanked her team at the hotel for their work on the project, adding the summit opened her up to what other hoteliers are doing.

“It was a really great experience,” she said. “And it was inspiring to also see the other nominees and what they’re doing.”

Whistler hotels’ focus

While user experiences are unique to each hotel, there is a general push amongst Whistler hotels towards reducing carbon emissions and increasing emergency preparedness, according to Melanie Keam, chair of the Hotel Association of Whistler.

“If there’s an area of focus we have going into the summer, it’s to make sure that all hotels are properly prepared in the event of any type of emergency evacuation that needs to happen,” she said.

The low snowpack has led to conversations around wildfires this year, and preparing now will help guests and staff navigate an emergency.

Another focus is carbon reduction workshops lead by the Resort Municipality of Whistler, which members of the hotel association are attending.

“We have been working through the process of decarbonizing our hotels where we’re able to,” Keam explained. “That’s also been one of the big focuses, just working together to find ways to create more sustainability within the industry.”

Keam also touched on the summer forecast for hoteliers, with the pace of bookings fluctuating for the summer months and attracting different guests than the winter season.

“We’ve seen a lot more short-term visitation and some bookings happening much closer to the stay date than we would normally see,” she said.

Winter visitors tended to book for longer at luxury hotels, but the summer sees more bookings at three-star properties, a trend that isn’t carrying forward to four- and five-star hotels.

Summer visitors tend to feature heavier local “drive-market” traffic, while Whistler becomes more of an international destination in the winter months.